Opthalmic Industry Veteran Joins Nacuity Pharmaceuticals’ Board

Emmett T. Cunningham is a senior partner at HealthQuest Capital Management and co-founder and executive chairman of Eyconis, a spinout of Ascendis Pharma.

Emmett T. Cunningham has been appointed to the board of directors of Fort Worth-based Nacuity Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for retinitis pigmentosa, cataract, and other diseases caused by oxidative stress.

Cunningham is a senior partner at HealthQuest Capital Management and co-founder and executive chairman of Eyconis, a spinout of Ascendis Pharma created to develop, manufacture, and commercialize TransCon ophthalmology assets globally.

 Halden Conner, chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Nacuity, said in a statement that Cunningham’s “career as a prominent leader in the ophthalmology industry, bridging the business world and ophthalmic innovation, will be a vital asset at this pivotal time for our clinical programs in oxidative stress.”

The company said that Cunningham is an ophthalmology industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience as a full-time investor and entrepreneur who has led or co-led investments and partnerships in the medical device and biotechnology space that have supported the FDA approval of multiple therapeutics.

Cunningham is also an internationally recognized specialist in infectious and inflammatory eye disease, with over 400 publications.

“Nacuity’s approach to treating ophthalmic and non-ophthalmic disorders is both completely novel and tremendously promising,” Cunningham said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Nacuity team to unlock the broad therapeutic potential of its clinical programs in treating ocular and non-ocular disease.”

Eye health innovator

Before HealthQuest and Eyconis, Cunningham was a senior managing director at Blackstone Inc. following that firm’s acquisition of Clarus Ventures in 2018.

At Clarus, Cunningham was a member of the full-time investment team since the firm’s inception in 2006. From 2001 to 2005, he was the SVP of Medical Strategy at Eyetech Pharmaceuticals Inc., where he was part of the leadership team that developed Macugen, a first-in-class VEGF-A inhibitor for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration.

Before Eyetech, Cunningham was at Pfizer Inc. Cunningham was the co-founder and chairman of the Ophthalmology Innovation Summit (OIS).

Cunningham is a member of the board of directors of Galera Therapeutics and Executive Chairman of Eyconis.

He serves as Innovator in Residence for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures; as a member of the Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board at Johns Hopkins University; is an advisor to the Byers Center for BioDesign at Stanford University; and serves philanthropically on the Boards of The Alta Foundation and EverythingALS.

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